Star Wars Icons: Han Solo arrived 13th November via Sideshow Collectibles, and EW give us a look at the book, focusing on a particularly tricky time filming in Finse – where you might remember Fantha Tracks visited earlier this year – and some fun and frolics getting the shots they needed.
Harrison Ford and The Empire Strikes Back associate producer Jim Bloom remember their journey.
After an unanticipated blizzard got the shoot off to a rocky start, the production opted to bring Ford to Scandinavia for several scenes that see Han searching for Luke Skywalker who has gone missing while patrolling the wastes of Hoth on a creature known as a tauntaun—scenes originally scheduled to be shot in England.
“We had all these plans to take those snow vehicles thirty to forty minutes up the glacier to go shoot stuff,” recalls Empire Strikes Back associate producer Jim Bloom. “We were in a complete whiteout with nothing to do. There was a scene we were going to do with Harrison and Mark [Hamill] when Harrison finds him and sticks him inside the tauntaun. We had nothing to shoot, and I remember saying to [Empire producer] Gary [Kurtz], ‘Well, let’s get Harrison out here and let’s shoot that scene. Why do it on the stage?’”
“There was a guy who was manning the station— had a little desk and a telephone in an office there— and he came out at a certain point,” Ford continues. “I heard the train come up, and this guy came out and grabbed my bag and went out onto the platform. He opened the door to the cab of a huge engine with an auger on the front that dug its way through snow and then could swivel on its base and turn around and come back the other direction. That was the means of conveyance. Somehow, it had been arranged for this guy to come and pick me up because the [train] tracks were not clear.”
Dutifully, Ford climbed into the passenger’s seat beside the driver of “this snowplow, or snow-removing beast. I sat next to him in the cab. He didn’t speak English, and we set off.” Between them, there was an unopened bottle of scotch, Ford recalls: “I think it had come from the hotel where the crew were staying.”
“We went, as I later found out, three hours in the wrong direction on the tracks,” Ford says. “Then, we swiveled around and went three hours back and then continued to our destination. It was about ten hours as I remember. I arrived in the dark with an empty bottle of scotch, which I had shared with the non- English-speaking train engineer, and exited into a tunnel through the snow and into the hotel where the crew was and the cast was.”
Adds Bloom, “The only way to get him to Finse was to send the plow, which was the train plow that kept the line clear, down at nighttime. . . . The Norwegians have a tradition, when you open a bottle you never close it, so when they get there, they kind of fell off the train.”